Power, legitimacy and urgency: Unravelling the relationship between Dutch healthcare organisations and their financial stakeholders

Tessa van Dijk, Wilma van der Scheer, Richard Janssen

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Healthcare organisations rely on their financial stakeholders for capital to invest in state-of-the-art buildings, equipment, innovation and the delivery of healthcare services. Nevertheless, relations between healthcare organisations and their financial stakeholders have not been well studied. Here, we studied the relations between Dutch healthcare organisations and two of their main financial stakeholders (banks and health insurers) against the backdrop of system reforms and the financial crisis. We conducted a survey of healthcare executives to evaluate their relations with banks and health insurers in terms of power, legitimacy and urgency. These three attributes are based on the salience model of Mitchel, Agle and Wood (1997). We further tested for differences in power, legitimacy and urgency across organisational sector and size. The results showed that healthcare organisations value banks as legitimate stakeholders with a well-demarcated influence and a clear-cut function. The relationship with health insurers is more complex. Healthcare organisations experience considerable influence from health insurers but question the legitimacy of their claims. Since health insurers play a crucial role in the Dutch healthcare system, these findings question the workability of the relationship between healthcare organisations and health insurers and the position of health insurers in the overall healthcare sector. Our results are relevant to countries with public-private health systems and contribute to the development of the salience model by showing the individual value of stakeholder attributes and the relevance of context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1077-1084
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Policy
Issue number8
Early online date16 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

The authors would like to thank two groups for their useful insights and constructive feedback on earlier drafts of the paper: members of the Health Care Governance group at the Erasmus University Rotterdam at the discussion session on 3 February 2020 and the attendees of the panel ?Governance, politics and implementation in local welfare and health politics? at the NIG Annual Conference on 8 November 2019 in Amsterdam. We would also like to express our gratitude to everyone who provided us with helpful advice and feedback on the survey. We are especially grateful to our respondents, who took the time to fill out the survey, and the NVZD who made it possible to contact healthcare executives through their member base. Finally, we are grateful to the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021


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